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  • Author: Abdullah Al-Arian
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Prof. Abdullah Al-Arian discusses how Islamist movements have historically viewed diplomacy as important to their activist missions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Diplomacy, Politics, History, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Melinda K. Abrams, Reginald D. Williams II, Katharine Fields, Roosa Tikkanen
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: About one-quarter of U.S. adults report having a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety or depression or experiencing emotional distress. This is one of the highest rates among 11 high-income countries. While U.S. adults are among the most willing to seek professional help for emotional distress, they are among the most likely to report access or affordability issues. Emotional distress is associated with social and economic needs in all countries. Nearly half of U.S. adults who experience emotional distress report such worries, a higher share than seen in other countries. The United States has some of the worst mental health–related outcomes, including the highest suicide rate and second-highest drug-related death rate. The U.S. has a relatively low supply of mental health workers, particularly psychologists and psychiatrists. Just one-third of U.S. primary care practices have mental health professionals on their team, compared to more than 90 percent in the Netherlands and Sweden.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Mental Health, Drugs, Substance Abuse
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: UK in a Changing Europe, King's College London
  • Abstract: Brexit is done. The formal negotiations are over — even though the Trade and Cooperation Agreement paves the way to many further negotiations between the UK and the EU. Our understanding of what Brexit does mean in practice is just beginning. Now the UK is finally able to embark on its new course, we believe that the need for social science to play a role in informing public and political debates is as great if not greater than ever. The contributions that follow underline the scale and scope of the agenda that confronts the United Kingdom. It is meant both as a guide to the issues that will loom large of the months and years to come and as a signal that we intend to deploy the best social science research in order to understand and address them.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Economy, Society
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Bürge Elvan Erginli, Gizem Fidan
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: A handbook on Data-driven Decision Making and Urban95: Data-driven Policy Tool (harita.kent95.org). The majority of the world population now lives in cities, while relations between technology and individuals and institutions and things are stronger than ever. The resultant growth in the volume and diversity of data has rendered the issue of data-driven policy development, which has been in existence since the 1990s, much more visible. We can define the concept of data-driven decision making as institutions that provide urban services making use of data to develop accurate, effective and measurable policies when planning how, to whom, with what content and where in the city these services will be provided. This has recently become an important topic in Turkey. We frequently encounter the importance especially of local administrations making use of data when making and following their strategic plans. In order to make use of data in developing urban policy, we first of all need to have a sense of what urban data is and the channels by which it is produced, providing us a holistic perspective. We can usually speak of five types of data in this context: The first is public administration data produced by local administrations and state agencies. The second is official statistical data such as census or household/workplace surveys gathered through questionnaires under the direction of the national statistical institute. The third is operational data on services provided by local administrations or specific institutions – institutions providing transportation service for example. The fourth is scientific data on environmental conditions such as the air, water level, pollution and noise. The fifth consists of composite indicators or estimates produced through combining and analyzing these four types of data. While most of the data in urban dashboards consist of traditional data updated monthly or yearly, operational and scientific data’s level of inclusion of real time big data in particular is increasing.
  • Topic: Governance, Urban, Sustainability, Data, Decision-Making
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Global
  • Author: Anindita Mukherjee, Anju Dwivedi, Neha Agarwal
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The state of Odisha has made unprecedented strides in increasing access to individual toilets from 14% in 2011 to a purported 100% in 2019 under the Swachh Bharat Mission - Gramin. In light of the clarion call of a ‘Swachha Odisha, Sustha Odisha’, and the national imperatives set by the National Rural Sanitation Strategy, 2019-2029, the state has created a systematic framework towards the achievement of total sanitation in the form of the Odisha Rural Sanitation Policy, 2020. To inform the creation of the Policy and shape its contours for responding optimally to ground realities, we undertook a rapid assessment of the prevailing sanitation practices in three districts of the state. The present report discusses the resulting findings relating to varied aspects of rural sanitation - ranging from trends in toilet use and on-site sanitation systems to the availability and state of Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) infrastructure.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Governance, Rural, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mekhala Krishnamurthy, Deepak Sanan, Karnamadakala Rahul Sharma, Aditya Unnikrishnan
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has caused extraordinary hardship since India’s first case was reported in Thrissur, Kerala in January 2020. Individuals and communities have since then made drastic changes to their behaviours, daily routines and lives, quite often in response to announcements or regulatory direction provided by the state. Officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) are important actors at the forefront of framing, implementing and evaluating the state’s response to the pandemic, and uniquely positioned between the political executive and India’s massive frontline state. Their views on the state’s response, preparedness, the public and stakeholders in governance, and their positions on important normative debates underlying policy formulation and implementation therefore offer useful insights into both how the Indian state governs, and how it might govern better in the future. This report presents the results of a representative survey of over 500 IAS officers conducted between August and September 2020, 7-8 months into the pandemic. The survey sought to engage members of the IAS in reflecting on the critical challenges, decisions, and trade-offs that confronted public administrators charged with managing the state response at different levels. In doing so, it revealed both widely shared and sharply contested views on a range of subjects, including the role of the civil servant, executive and bureaucratic functioning in a crisis, and perceptions of and relations between the state, the public, and other important actors and institutions. The report finds that on the one hand, IAS officers are remarkably consistent in expressing high levels of motivation and public service commitment and endorse the view that the Indian state and bureaucracy galvanise resources and deliver reasonably well in times of crisis. On the other hand, there is a consistent tension between some strongly expressed ideals and the realities of administrative action, especially on engagement and communication with, and trust in the public. Finally, there is significant diversity among IAS officers when it comes to perceptions of key stakeholders (civil society, international agencies and the media) and a striking distrust of the private sector. The report also highlights the diversity in responses of officers across state cadres and seniority in several places through disaggregated analysis. This report, by the State Capacity Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research is part of a larger body of work on understanding the norms and values underpinning different state institutions in India. As we develop this body of work over the coming years, our goal is to continue to probe not just how the state performs, but how it perceives its own capacity, why and how it makes choices, imagines possibilities for governance, and engages with citizens.
  • Topic: Governance, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 55 looks at developments in Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria and South Sudan.
  • Topic: International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Syria, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Sahel, Central African Republic, Global Focus, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Haizam Amirah-Fernandez
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is shaking Arab countries hard at a time when the region is already under great pressure. The responses of Arab states to the threat of the coronavirus, added to the uncertain international context generated by the pandemic, is aggravating existing problems in the Middle East and the Maghreb. This current global emergency and its ramifications has the potential to turn socioeconomic challenges into political crises and intensify demands for change that have spread through multiple countries in the region over the past decade. Until an effective vaccine against the pandemic is made available and widely accessible, the economic and social costs of the drastic restrictions being imposed by Arab governments during the successive waves of the pandemic may be overwhelming and, ultimately, unbearable.
  • Topic: Politics, Arts, Culture, COVID-19, Demonstrations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Juan Pablo Cardenal
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL)
  • Abstract: In April 2020, a few weeks after COVID-19 began to wreak havoc across the length and breadth of the globe, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hurriedly pressed parties from around the world to make a joint statement promoting international cooperation against the pandemic.1 Behind its constructive rhetoric, the ten-point note drafted by the CCP displayed its true purpose. On the one hand, it emphasized both China’s “open, transparent and responsible attitude” and the assistance offered by the Asiatic country in the form of “medical supplies to the affected countries.”2 On the other, it rejected “stigmatization” and “discriminatory comments and practices” an implicit reference to the international criticism that the Chinese communist regime was already receiving for covering-up the virus.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Transparency, Political Parties, COVID-19, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Rachel Lastinger, Sandra Urquiza
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Election observers are a crucial mechanism for transparency in the electoral process and can play a key role in electoral reform. In the United States, election observers’ findings can be more efficiently utilized to catalyze needed reform. The Carter Center has observed over 113 elections and supported citizen observer efforts in various countries. Drawing from this international experience, we suggest that US election observers can monitor the electoral process beyond election day, from voter registration to election dispute resolution and have a similar impact on electoral reform and integrity.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Law, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States of America, North America
  • Author: Gilles Carbonnier
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Illicit financial flows significantly erode the tax base of resource-rich developing countries, which do not have the means to invest in public health, education, and sustainable development. In this column, the author presents the latest research findings and policy implications and discusses some of the most promising avenues to effectively curb illicit financial flows, strengthening the nexus between trade and tax governance.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Human Rights, Financial Crimes, Trade, Development Aid, Sustainability, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Elliott Prasse-Freeman, Tani Sebro
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Myanmar’s recent military coup has, for now, ended the country’s brief ten-year experiment with democracy. But the military junta did not anticipate a massive country-wide social movement against the brazen power-grab, in which millions have taken to the streets. As protests continue in urban centers, a trans-ethnic and pro-poor solidarity movement is emerging. Myanmar’s most excluded subjects, many of whom watch the protests from refugee camps, are now weighing both the possibilities and precariousness that the coup entails.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Migration, Minorities, Displacement, Conflict, Coup
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar, Oceania
  • Author: Anna Borshchevskaya
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Moscow is in Syria for the long haul and will continue to undermine American efforts there. In recent months, Moscow intensified its activities in Syria against the backdrop of a changing US administration. The Kremlin sent additional military policy units to eastern Syria, and continued diplomatic engagement through the Astana format, a process that superficially has international backing but in practice excludes the United States and boosts Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, Moscow also unveiled at its airbase in Syria a statue to the patron saint of the Russian army, Prince Alexander Nevsky. A growing Russian presence in Syria will further hurt Western interests.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Paulina García-Del Moral
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Mexican feminists have used the hashtag “la policía no me cuida, me cuidan mis amigas” (police do not protect me, my female friends do) to denounce and document sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of police and the sharp increase in police repression against feminist demonstrations. The repression of these feminist demonstrations suggests a new and disturbing pattern of the criminalization of women’s right to mobilize.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Law, Women, Feminism, Conflict, Police, Girls
  • Political Geography: Central America, Mexico
  • Author: Shaugn Coggins, James D. Ford
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Arctic regions are experiencing transformative climate change impacts. This article examines the justice implications of these changes for Indigenous Peoples, arguing that it is the intersection of climate change with pronounced inequalities, land dispossession, and colonization that creates climate injustice in many instances.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Poverty, Culture, Income Inequality, Justice, Indigenous, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Arctic
  • Author: Dennis Wesselbaum, Michael D. Smith, Shannon N. Minehan
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Global migration flows have increased over the last couple decades. Climate change is a key driver of these flows and will become more important in the future. Foreign aid programs, often intended to manage or even reduce these flows, are typically not large enough and lead to more rather than less migration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Climate Change, Environment, Migration, Foreign Aid, Displacement, Multilateralism, Peace, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joshua Fitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Many of China’s technology companies perfect their products in the domestic market by facilitating the party-state’s oppression and data control, and subsequently seek to export the technology to fledgling authoritarian states or nations with fragile democracies. This is part of Beijing’s strategy to enhance its digital instruments of national power, normalize illiberal uses of technology, and equip foreign governments with the tools to replicate aspects of the CCP’s authoritarian governance model. If Washington wants to blunt this strategy, the US government needs to implement a comprehensive strategy of its own to address this.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Law, Authoritarianism, Grand Strategy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Reid
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This article seeks to place the recent conflict in Ethiopia in deeper historical context. It traces the roots of Tigray province’s identity through various phases in Ethiopia’s history, and argues that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is the culmination of decades, even centuries, of a struggle for status within the Ethiopian nation-state. The article proposes that Ethiopia’s history, inseparable from that of neighboring Eritrea, is characterized by cyclical shifts in access to power, as well as conflicts over inclusivity and cohesion, and that crushing the TPLF militarily will not resolve those conflicts.
  • Topic: Security, History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Tigray
  • Author: Patrice C. McMahon, Lukasz W. Niparko
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although LGBTQI+ activists in Poland are under attack from the Law and Justice government’s conservative agenda, domestic activists are finding ways to resist and persist.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Political Activism, LGBT+
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Poland
  • Author: Sahar Khan
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The international community is focused on the ongoing intra-Afghan peace process, which has steadied despite several challenges. There are two developments, however, that will have a lasting impact on the process: The International Criminal Court’s investigation into war crimes committed by the Taliban, Afghan forces, and US forces, and the strategic evolution of the Taliban as a legitimate political actor.
  • Topic: Security, International Law, Terrorism, Taliban, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, South Asia, Eurasia
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent incidence of war in the Caucasus has shown that, when facing deep domestic troubles, Russia and Turkey demonstrate strikingly different patterns of international behavior. While Russia has become more cautious in responding to external challenges, Turkey has embarked on several power-projecting enterprises. Its forceful interference in the long-smoldering conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh took Russia by surprise and effectively secured a military victory for Azerbaijan. Moscow has assumed the main responsibility for terminating hostilities by deploying a peacekeeping force, but its capacity for managing the war zone and its commitment to deconflicting tensions with Turkey remain uncertain. The United States and the European Union have few levers for influencing this interplay of clashing agendas of local actors and regional powers and fewer reasons to trust Russian and Turkish leaders to put peacebuilding ahead of their ambitions.
  • Topic: Security, War, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East
  • Author: Marta Abrantes Mendes
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Based on interviews with key Yemeni civil society organizations, the report finds that much more is needed to support a Yemeni-led vision of justice and accountability. After registering a diversity of views amongst Yemeni civil society—from a need to address the economic and social costs of the conflict to the role of civil society in any future transitional justice processes—this report also highlights the obstacles facing Yemeni civil society. Additionally, the report proposes more tactics and strategies for supporting Yemeni civil society and victims’ groups, and to ensure they have an influence over the contours of an eventual peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice, Accountability, Justice
  • Political Geography: Yemen
  • Author: Christine Hübner, Jan Eichhorn, Luuk Molthof, Srđan Cvijić
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: France is one of the European countries with the highest rates of popular disapproval of countries in the Western Balkans joining the European Union. What is this disapproval based on, and how important is the issue of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans for people in France? Using a combination of 2020 survey data representative of the adult French population and in-depth focus groups with French voters, this report offers a comprehensive insight into the views of the French on whether or not the countries of the Western Balkans should join the European Union.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 12-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: As part of its proposal for an EU Migration and Asylum Pact, the European Commission has pledged to present proposals on legal migration in 2021 to better match labour demand and supply, enable better, faster access to visas and work permits, and increase the intra-EU mobility of foreign workers. This report analyses the actions taken by three EU member states: Germany, Italy, and Spain. These countries have created or expanded labour migration pathways, regularised part of the undocumented population, and increased protections for some categories of migrants. The report examines how effective these different approaches have been and if there are lessons to be learned at the EU level.
  • Topic: Migration, Labor Issues, Work Culture, Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Nicola Bilotta
  • Publication Date: 12-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The last decade has witnessed a progressive change in what had long been considered global priorities for achieving growth. The global financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the following European sovereign debt crises of 2011–2012 have brought to light important pitfalls in the functioning of globalized financial markets. Trade and financial liberalization policies have at times caused severe strains in some communities, raising concerns over the effects of rapid increases in international integration. Environmental and social risks have come to the forefront of the policy debate. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous challenges to what was the normal way of living. All these events have had far-reaching consequences on the global economy. Currently, the world is facing at least three major shocks that are affecting health (COVID-19), prosperity (the recession) and the planet (climate change). These have been chosen as the three keywords for Italy’s G20 Presidency. These shocks are different in nature and have very diverse effects across countries, regions and municipalities. This calls for differentiated and targeted responses that take into account the specific needs of individual communities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Infrastructure, G20, Economic Growth, Investment, Integration, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, India, Vietnam, Philippines, United States of America, Congo
  • Author: Sarah Pierce
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Over the course of four years, the Trump administration used a wide range of executive action tools to make sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration system. Among them is an obscure but powerful bureaucratic authority known as the attorney general’s “referral and review” power. By allowing the attorney general to review and overrule decisions made by the Board of Immigration Appeals (the immigration appellate body within the U.S. Department of Justice), referral and review makes it possible to alter or reinterpret the application of immigration laws—at times with wide-reaching effects. While the frequent and consequential use of this power by Trump-era attorneys general drew increased attention to it, many of the concerns that have been raised about it predate the Trump administration. Among them: that it allows the attorney general—the country’s chief law enforcement officer—to intercede in individual cases, raising questions about the independence of the immigration adjudication system; that referral and review decisions are made with minimal procedural safeguards or transparency; and that the power has remained in the Justice Department, even as most immigration functions were moved to the Department of Homeland Security when that agency was created nearly two decades ago. This report explores how referral and review has evolved over time, including under the Trump administration, whose attorneys general referred more cases to themselves for review than those in any prior administration, Republican or Democrat. The report also looks closely at the two areas of U.S. immigration policy most affected by Trump-era referral and review decisions: the U.S. asylum system and court procedures, including how immigration judges manage their own dockets. Finally, it looks ahead to how the power might be used in the future and recommends ways to improve its use and placement within the immigration bureaucracy.
  • Topic: Immigration, Law, Border Control, Asylum
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Leonard Wong, Dr. Stephen J. Gerras
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Previous studies analyzing disability compensation have decried its $76 billion annual budget or warned of its perverse ability to incentivize veterans not to work. This study focuses on the impact of this moral hazard on the US Army profession. If soldiers continue to capitalize on an extremely permissive disability system, the trust between society and the military may be threatened, and future Army readiness may be jeopardized should disability compensation be added to the marginal cost of a soldier. More importantly, many of today’s soldiers are rationalizing disability compensation as something owed to them—not for a debilitating injury, but for the hardships of service to the nation. This study uses US Army and Department of Veterans Affairs personnel files, soldier interviews, and discussions with senior leaders to support its conclusions. The intent of the study is to prompt the Army profession to act before the culture surrounding disability compensation becomes permanent. In the end, the essence of the entitlement—taking care of veterans—must remain sacrosanct. This call for reform is driven not by fiscal considerations, but by a desire for the Army to remain both an institution trusted by society and a profession marked by selfless service.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Government, Disability, Army, Veterans
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In December 2019, Congress established the Afghanistan Study Group and tasked it with identifying policy recommendations that “consider the implications of a peace settlement, or the failure to reach a settlement, on U.S. policy, resources, and commitments in Afghanistan.” The Study Group’s report, released on February 3, 2021, concluded that there is a real opportunity to align U.S. policies, actions, and messaging behind achieving a durable peace settlement to end four decades of violent conflict in Afghanistan. This new approach would protect U.S. national interests in Afghanistan and the region by reducing terrorist threats, promoting regional stability, and protecting important gains in human rights and democratic institutions that have been made in Afghanistan. Active regional diplomacy could help generate a consensus among Afghanistan’s neighbors that all would benefit in both economic and security terms from supporting and sustaining peace in Afghanistan rather than fueling conflict through proxies.
  • Topic: Conflict, Negotiation, Peace, Mediation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Benjamin R. Young
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: North Korea serves as a mutually beneficial partner for many African governments. Although these ties are often viewed solely through the lens of economic and security interests, this report shows Pyongyang's deep historical connections and ideological linkages with several of the continent’s nations. North Korea–Africa relations are also bolstered by China, which has been complicit in North Korea’s arms and ivory trade, activities providing funds that likely support the Kim regime’s nuclear ambitions and allow it to withstand international sanctions.
  • Topic: History, Governance, Sanctions, Democracy, Solidarity
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Eloïse Bertrand
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In October 2014, a massive popular uprising unseated Burkina Faso’s long-time president, Blaise Compaoré, and drove a civilian-led transition that culminated in free and fair elections in November 2015. This report shows the importance of the national culture of dialogue and consensus and the benefit of a vast, resilient network across negotiating groups. Although violence in the country has since increased, lessons from Burkina Faso’s transition can inform the dynamics of popular mobilization, negotiations, and prospects for long-term peace and democracy in other settings.
  • Topic: Democracy, Negotiation, Transition, Nonviolence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Annie Pforzheimer, Andrew Hyde, Jason Criss Howk
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Failure to plan realistically for needed changes in Afghanistan’s security sector following a peace settlement—and failure to start phasing in changes now—will lead to post-settlement instability. This report examines the particular challenges Afghanistan will face, with examples from the climate following peace settlements in other parts of the world offering insight into what may occur and possibilities for response. An Afghan-owned and Afghan-led strategy that incorporates some of this report’s recommendations can help create a lasting foundation for Afghan and regional stability.
  • Topic: Security, Political stability, Rule of Law, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Umar Mahmood Khan, Rana Hamza Ijaz, Sevim Saadat
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: When Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas were officially merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in May 2018, the five million residents of the former tribal areas acquired the same constitutional rights and protections—including access to a formal judicial system—as Pakistan’s other citizens. This report, based on field research carried out by the authors, explores the status of the formal justice system’s expansion, finding both positive trends and severe administrative and capacity challenges, and offers recommendations to address these issues.
  • Topic: Security, Rule of Law, Justice, Tribes
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Alan Boswell
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: South Sudan’s civil war expanded into Equatoria, the country’s southernmost region, in 2016, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee into neighboring Uganda in what has been called Africa’s largest refugee exodus since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Equatoria is now the last major hot spot in the civil war. If lasting peace is to come to South Sudan, writes Alan Boswell, it will require a peace effort that more fully reckons with the long-held grievances of Equatorians.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil War, Conflict, Crisis Management, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Patricia M. Kim
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As strategic competition between the United States and China intensifies, preventing a destabilizing arms race and lowering the risk of military, especially nuclear, confrontation is critical. The essays in this volume—based on a series of workshops convened by USIP’s Asia Center in late 2020—highlight both the striking differences and the commonalities between U.S. and Chinese assessments of the root causes of instability and the drivers of conflict in the nuclear, conventional missile and missile defense, space, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence realms.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Peace, Artificial Intelligence, Strategic Competition, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: George Perkovich, Pranay Vaddi
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Ever since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, every U.S. presidential administration has published a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that explains the rationales behind its nuclear strategy, doctrine, and requested forces. These reviews have helped inform U.S. government personnel, citizens, allies, and adversaries of the country’s intentions and planned capabilities for conducting nuclear deterrence and, if necessary, war. The administration that takes office in January 2021 may or may not conduct a new NPR, but it will assess and update nuclear policies as part of its overall recalibration of national security strategy and policies. Nongovernmental analysts can contribute to sound policymaking by being less constrained than officials often are in exploring the difficulties of achieving nuclear deterrence with prudently tolerable risks. Accordingly, the review envisioned and summarized here explicitly elucidates the dilemmas, uncertainties, and tradeoffs that come with current and possible alternative nuclear policies and forces. In the body of this review, we analyze extant declaratory policy, unclassified employment policy, and plans for offensive and defensive force postures, and then propose changes to several of them. We also will emphasize the need for innovative approaches to arms control.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Hybrid Threats
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Louise Marie Hurel
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Igarapé Institute
  • Abstract: n February 2020, the Decree 10.222 established Brazil’s National Cybersecurity Strategy (E-Ciber) — the first official document to provide an overview regarding Brazil’s role in cybersecurity, as well as objectives and guiding principles for its development between 2020 and 2023. With the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of people, governmental agencies, and businesses have rapidly adapted their activities to a largely virtual environment. This sudden migration led to new threats and attack surfaces for exploiting vulnerabilities. More than ever, different sectors must be prepared and trained to respond to and resist these threats. However, this was precisely the period in which Brazil suffered the worst cyber attack in its history – highlighting, yet again, that many challenges remain for ensuring that concerns with security turn into action across different sectors. This strategic paper identifies the main gaps and challenges for cybersecurity governance in Brazil. We unpack the main elements of E-Ciber in order to understand and place the country’s strategic vision historically as well as in relation to other international experiences. We adopt a principles-based approach that seeks to strengthen and inform the implementation of strategic cybersecurity objectives in Brazil, which include: national and international coordination and cooperation; knowledge integration; sustainability of efforts; and cybersecurity-related training.
  • Topic: National Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Internet, Digital Policy, Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Melina Risso, Julia Sekula, Lycia Brasil, Peter Schmidt, Maria Eduarda Pessoa de Assis
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Igarapé Institute
  • Abstract: The Brazilian Amazon is rife with illegal gold mining operations, with 321 identified points of illegal, active and inactive mines arranged in the 9 states that comprise the Brazilian Amazon Basin. This devastation has a price — according to Brazil’s Federal Public Prosecutors Office, 1kg of gold represents roughly R$1.7m in environmental damages, culminating in an environmental cost roughly 10 times greater than the current price of gold. The Amazon is nearing its critical ‘tipping point’, beyond which both the Amazon biome and our global climate will suffer irreversible damages. As such, discussions on illegal mining in the Brazilian Amazon present two interrelated challenges: combating deforestation and protecting the distinct cultures of indigenous populations, who constitute the forests’ principal environmental defenders. Considering the urgency of the discussion, the Igarapé Institute launches the publication Illegal Gold That Undermines Forests and Lives in the Amazon: An Overview of Irregular Mining and its Impacts on Indigenous Populations. The article presents urgent recommendations, in the short and long term, to avoid an irreversible climatic collapse, in which the preservation of the Amazon rainforest plays a fundamental role.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources, Culture, Mining, Indigenous, Ecology
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Igarapé Institute
  • Abstract: The civic space - the sphere between business, the State, and family where citizens organize, debate, and act to influence public policy and the general direction of the country — is under attack. Attacks against civic space constitute a threat to transparency, to the freedoms of expression, assembly, and protest, and to civil and political rights. They are in direct conflict with the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Brazilian Constitution and in countless international conventions and treaties. And they are a grave threat to democracy itself. The closure of civic space is not exclusive to Brazil. However, deliberate attempts to diminish it are becoming increasingly common in the country. This is why the Igarapé Institute is launching the “the Civic Space GPS”, a quarterly analysis dedicated to monitor attacks, acts of resistance led by State institutions, as well as reactions from civil society. It considers the typology created by the Igarapé Institute to describe the different strategies and tactics used to close the civic space and described in the Strategic Paper 49: “The ‘Agora’ is Under Attack: assessing the closure of civic space in Brazil and Around the World”.
  • Topic: Democracy, Business , Freedom of Expression, State, Family, Political Rights, Civic Engagement
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Peter Schmidt, Robert Muggah
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Arab Barometer
  • Abstract: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that climate change will generate alarming consequences for West Africa. A rise in global temperature between 3°C to 6°C by the end of the century (or earlier) is associated with greater irregularity in rainfall, and a delay in the beginning of the rainy season. Another risk involves higher frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, rainstorms, and flooding. According to some models, sea levels could rise by more than 75cm on average by the end of the century, forcing hundreds of millions of people to move, mostly within their own countries, and often to cities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Migration, International Security
  • Political Geography: Latin America, West Africa
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the African Union Transitional Justice Policy as a case study that locates peace within the justice agenda in Africa, drawing from the rich, three-decade-long practice and experience of transitional justice processes on the continent to guide and inform future processes. It discusses the parameters set by the policy within which peace and justice processes can co-exist and be pursued in transitional justice through timing and sequencing. The paper also analyses the benchmarks of success for peace processes, making use of African examples and offering recommendations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Africa, African Union
  • Author: Gabriel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Contemporary analysis of Eastern Mediterranean geopolitics tends to focus on the discovery of offshore hydrocarbons, and how a desire to maximize commercial profits has spurred a realignment of regional interests. There is similar emphasis on how this realignment pushed some Eastern Mediterranean states into conflict with one another over maritime boundaries and drilling rights. But while natural gas pipelines may dominate political and analytical discourse, there are other infrastructure projects that deserve attention and shed further light on the region’s evolution and Israel’s role in this transitionary period. One example to support this claim is the EuroAsia Interconnector, an ambitious infrastructure project that intends to connect the European electrical grid via undersea cable from Greece to Cyprus, and Israel. Few in Israel are familiar with the interconnector. Unlike the much-publicized EastMed pipeline, the interconnector garners little attention. Ironically, there is a greater chance that the interconnector – whose cable would run along a similar route as the EastMed pipeline – will successfully link Israel and Europe in the Eastern Mediterranean, and not the more recognizable natural gas project.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Gas
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Palestine, Mediterranean
  • Author: Ksenia Svetlova
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In the few months that have passed since the signing of the historical Abraham Accords, Israel and the UAE have opened embassies and exchanged ambassadors, launched direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, hosted dozens of businesses, cultural and academic delegations (among them a high-ranking Emirati delegation led by the UAE ministers of finance and economy), and facilitated visits of thousands of Israeli tourists to Dubai. Universities and think tanks from both countries have established connections, and news outlets have launched different forms of cooperation. Israel, the UAE, and the US set an investment fund worth 3 billion USD (the fund is not operational yet) and banks on both sides established agreements on financial services. The scope of activity between the two countries is impressive, and it seems that in case of Israel and the UAE, the seeds of peace have fallen on fertile ground, mainly due to high level of economic development and mutual geopolitical interests and concerns, such as the Iranian threat (although both sides evaluate and treat it differently).Today, it is almost impossible to imagine that just a few years ago Israeli athletes were only allowed to compete in the UAE if they agreed to participate without their national flag or national anthem sung at the closing ceremony. Why is it that the peace between Israel and the UAE appears to be such a stark contrast from previous peace agreements that Israel has signed with other Arab countries? Several factors have facilitated the newly established relationship: the positive image of the UAE in Israel; the lack of past hostilities, casualties, and territorial demands between the two countries; the unofficial ties forged long before the official recognition; the many mutual interests that seem to be aligned together; and the right timing that allowed for this bold and important development. Will the parties be able to maintain a similar level of enthusiasm also when the honeymoon stage passes? How will the two countries deal with various regional and international challenges? This paper presents an Israeli perspective on the first months of the relationship between Israel and UAE, and looks at prospects for the near future of these relations.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Economy, Peace, Abraham Accords
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, UAE
  • Author: Agnieszka Legucka
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia in April this year updated its policy on international information security (IIS). Compared to the previous version of the document from 2013, Russia points to the possibility of an inter-state conflict as a result of activities in cyberspace. Russia also promotes the concept of “sovereign internet” and aims to increase its influence in the field of global regulations concerning the development of the network. The publication of the document confirms the priority for information security in the national security strategy and in the foreign policy of the Russian Federation.
  • Topic: Security, Internet, Non-Traditional Threats, Information Technology , Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Paweł Markiewicz
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy is emerging from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain growth and at the same time achieve climate and technology goals, the Biden administration is pushing large socio-economic programmes. To pass them in Congress, the administration will be forced to reach compromises with factions within the Democratic Party. Biden also will need some Republican support. In foreign policy, these programmes aim to strengthen the U.S. position in its rivalry with China, something that also opens greater possibilities for closer cooperation with the EU.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, COVID-19, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: China, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In April 2021, the U.S. intelligence community published the extensive report “Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World”. It analyses the main demographic, political, and strategic trends that will likely shape the world for the next two decades. The report will be intensively used by the Biden administration in the preparation of the new U.S. National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, as well as in new military doctrines. The “Global Trends” document reflects the main tendencies in American strategic thinking, such as the growing “Sinocentrism” and traditional U.S. attachment to transatlantic relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Intelligence, Strategic Planning
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Author: Aleksandra Kozioł
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The ongoing pandemic has increased the use of digital technologies and intensified the threats they pose. Therefore, the EU faces the need to strengthen its ability to detect and respond to hostile cyber activities. New initiatives should, above all, improve the cooperation of EU institutions with Member States and private entities. However, their effectiveness will be limited by low and dispersed financing.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Cybersecurity, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Oskar Szydłowski, Stefania Kolarz
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The proposed regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) on the EU market is primarily intended to protect fundamental rights and values. As the first regulation of this type in the world, it may set the standard. However, the new requirements in practice might hinder the access of foreign entities to the internal market and reduce the competitiveness of EU businesses.
  • Topic: Markets, European Union, Regulation, Artificial Intelligence, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since last year, Israel has increased its operations against Iran’s nuclear programme. The actions corresponded to the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy on Iran. Currently, the Israeli actions are an attempt to put pressure on the negotiations launched by the U.S. and Iran to restore the nuclear agreement. Israel opposes those talks, but further escalation will be limited by the stance of the Biden administration.
  • Topic: Nuclear Power, Cybersecurity, Joe Biden, Escalation
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, United States of America
  • Author: Sara Nowacka
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the end of March, Lebanese President Michel Aoun rejected a proposal by designated Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri regarding the composition of the new government. The breakdown of the negotiations shows that despite the deepening socio-economic crisis, political groups are unable to develop a common vision for the reconstruction of the state. The EU, UN, and the World Bank engaged in initiatives aiming to improve Lebanon’s situation. However, the political deadlock threatens the implementation of their co-created “3RF” reform plan.
  • Topic: United Nations, World Bank, European Union, Economy, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner, Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Taking advantage of the withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, Russia intends to strengthen its influence in that country by increasing contacts with the Afghan government and the Taliban. The aim is to become a key mediator in the peace process, which will enable it to influence the participants, increase control over the situation in Afghanistan, and use it in relations with the countries of the region. Russia’s policy may make the stabilisation of Afghanistan more difficult and undermine the effects of the efforts made by NATO countries during the stabilisation mission.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, South Asia, Eurasia
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The cancellation of the 22 May parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Authority (PA) by President Mahmoud Abbas deepens the Palestinian political crisis and contributed to the escalation between Hamas and Israel. The decision is a result of internal disputes in the PA leadership and insufficient external support, primarily from the U.S. The lack of elections will preserve the current political turmoil in the PA and weaken Palestinian relations with Israel.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Crisis Management, Escalation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Artur Kacprzyk
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After a few years of increases, U.S. defence spending is likely to stagnate. At the same time, the needs related to the U.S. priority of deterring China will grow. The effect will be that the U.S. will continue to call for a greater contribution of NATO members to their own defence, even given the softening of transatlantic tensions and positive signals regarding the U.S. military presence in Europe.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Military Spending, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: China, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The policy of repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang has become a significant element of criticism of China in the world. In March this year, the EU, U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on China over the matter. Moreover, the Netherlands, the U.S. and Canada described China’s actions as genocide. For China, however, its actions involving Uyghurs are a key element of domestic politics, which is why it presents accusations as disinformation. It has imposed counter sanctions, including on the EU, and their wide scope indicates that for China, Xinjiang is more important than, for example, the ratification of the Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI) with the EU.
  • Topic: International Relations, Genocide, Human Rights, European Union, Uyghurs
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, Asia, Netherlands, United States of America, Xinjiang
  • Author: Veronika Jóźwiak
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For the first time in 12 years, the ruling Fidesz and the opposition have even chances of winning the parliamentary elections in April 2022. Unification of the opposition gives it strength, however, the institutional and financial advantages of the ruling party will be difficult to overcome. The government may be weakened by the effects of the pandemic and the loss of membership in the European People’s Party (EPP). The authorities aim to get funds from the new EU budget before the elections. As a partnership with the European extreme right will not contribute to this goal, the formation of a new grouping in the European Parliament (EP) by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is unlikely for now.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, European Union, Far Right
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary, Central Europe
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU intends to implement a new model of relations with Turkey based on phased, proportional, and reversible engagement. The Union’s plans are a consequence of a dilemma: although Turkey often acts like an adversary, EU members want to maintain close relations with it due to the convergence of interests in areas such as migration and the economy. The Union’s new approach creates the opportunity to strengthen its influence on Turkey. Yet, different expectations about the future shape of relations will keep EU-Turkey relations tense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, European Union, Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: France uses the idea of EU strategic autonomy as a tool in its own foreign policy. France’s aim is to redefine the Union’s partnership with the U.S. and NATO. Hence, the activity of President Emmanuel Macron in emphasising the differences between the positions of the U.S. and the EU, especially in relations with China and Russia. Macron’s rhetoric worries other European countries and hides the real problems in EU security policy, such as insufficient financing of the Common Security and Defence Policy as well as the lack of a clear definition of strategic autonomy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, European Union, Strategic Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, France, United States of America
  • Author: Adam S. Czartoryski
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: No other neighbour is as closely connected to Austria as Germany. For years, bilateral relations have been based on deep economic connection and mutual understanding of interests. However, Austria under Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is more and more often and more decisively able to express a different opinion from Germany on important issues in European politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Bilateral Relations, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Austria
  • Author: Agnieszka Legucka
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: So-called “sovereign internets”, which are networks cut off from the global internet, is attractive to authoritarian regimes such as Russia, China, and Iran. Russia declares that it has achieved the technical capacity to implement it, which would allow the Russian authorities more control over society but could cause problems for business. The Russian authorities therefore will limit its use to a preventive measure at key moments and for blocking foreign networks and communicators inside Russia to try to control public moods in the country.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, Internet, Networks, Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Andrzej Dąbrowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The development of U.S.-Belarus relations has been hampered by the events following the Belarusian presidential election in August 2020. In response to the Lukashenka regime’s violation of human rights, the U.S. extended a set of sanctions against the country and will most likely reinstate suspended economic restrictions. At the same time, the Biden administration will expand support for civil society, which creates a point of cooperation with Poland and the EU to coordinate aid activities and build international support for democratic changes in Belarus.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, Elections
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, North America, Belarus, United States of America
  • Author: Bartlomiej Znojek
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Biden administration will seek to rebuild the U.S. reputation and influence in Latin America. It will strengthen cooperation with Latin American partners in the field of climate change and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. The pandemic and its socio-economic impacts will increase the scale of the challenges facing the U.S. in its relations with Latin America, including in migration and development cooperation. The Biden administration’s approach to the region may facilitate the U.S.-EU dialogue, for example, on efforts to overcome the political and humanitarian crises in Venezuela.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Migration, European Union, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Venezuela, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Elzbieta Kaca
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European “Magnitsky Act” adopted by the EU is a political signal that the Union wants to protect human rights in the world more effectively. It fixes the scope of sanctions application in this field, but it does not fundamentally change existing EU practices. Still, the challenges lie in the adoption of sanctions listings by a unanimous decision of the Member States and their subsequent effective implementation. The new system will be used for the first time to impose restrictions on those responsible for the detention of Alexei Navalny in Russia. It may also be used in cases of human rights violations in China or on the territory of conflict areas in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Sanctions, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Adam Szymański
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Together with the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccination process in the European Union, the preparations of a common Community-wide immunity certificate began. The guidelines adopted at the end of January cover the medical requirements for this health certificate, however, many countries would like to extend their use for travel within the EU/Schengen area. This could contribute to the revival of tourism in Europe, although it is difficult to implement without affecting the freedom of movement.
  • Topic: Tourism, European Union, Vaccine, Freedom of Movement
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the rigged presidential elections in August 2020, the public protests against Alexander Lukashenka have continued. The Belarusian authorities have responded with repression, detaining protesters and independent journalists. Despite Lukashenka’s calls to reform the constitution, he also tries to postpone this process. The European Union should increase its support to civil society and keep demanding the Belarusian authorities respect human rights.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, European Union, Protests
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Belarus
  • Author: Wojciech Lorenz
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During the meeting of NATO foreign ministers on 2–3 December 2020, a group of experts presented the report “NATO 2030. United for a New Era” about strengthening the political dimension and consultation mechanisms of the Alliance. The report indicates a possible consensus on the expansion of the Alliance’s tasks, including on a common policy towards China. The document increases the chances that the allies will decide to start work on a new NATO strategy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Military Strategy, Alliance, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The continuing crisis in government has led to the dissolution of the Knesset and early parliamentary elections in Israel, the fourth in the last two years. Polls do not reveal any possible coalition variants, which increases the possibility for further elections in autumn. This scenario favours Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose position is strengthened by the effective vaccination campaign against COVID-19 and the normalisation of relations with Gulf states.
  • Topic: Elections, Domestic politics, Benjamin Netanyahu, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Sadyr Japarov, the leader of the autumn protests that led to the removal from power of the previous president, Soronbai Jeenbekov, won the early presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan on 10 January. In a parallel consultative referendum, voters supported the change of the state system to the presidential system proposed by Japarov, which includes the liquidation of parliament. One consequence may be the evolution of the political system of Kyrgyzstan towards an authoritarian model similar to those in other Central Asian countries. That would have a negative impact on relations with the EU, which supports democratic reforms in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Authoritarianism, Reform, Democracy, Domestic politics, Referendum
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Author: Agnieszka Legucka
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During a meeting in Moscow on 11 January, the representatives of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan discussed the situation after the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict. The peacekeeping force of the Russian Federation located in NK remains the guarantor of the cessation of the fighting. The practice of Russian conciliation so far differs from that of UN peacekeeping operations and strengthens Russia’s military position in the region. A challenge for it will be Turkey’s growing ambitions in the South Caucasus, as well as the lack of an agreed status for NK, which in the future may lead to the resumption of military operations in this territory.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Author: Kateryna Markevych
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Today’s world is being shaped in new conditions, where digital technologies are gaining more and more weight. They can greatly increase the level of labour efficiency and well-being of people, meet the challenges of health, education and state management (these advantages are particularly evident now, during the COVID-19 pandemic), but also increase the level of innovation of the economy or reduce the carbon intensity.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hanmin Kim
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: State-funded news media outlets and the ways in which they convey the messages of government and government-affiliated officials represent an essential but under-emphasized area of study in the realm of international diplomacy. Through a case study of the Hong Kong protests of 2019, this paper draws on theories from journalism and public diplomacy to analyze articles by state-funded media covering the unrest. This paper argues that the state-funded news outlets of the US and China used the same frame—violence and conflict—but approached the Hong Kong protests differently. Using this frame, state media outlets made themselves channels for government officials during the US-China rivalry, but made different arguments regarding the violence that occurred there. While US government-funded media focused on the violence of the Hong Kong Police Force as a danger to the territory’s democracy, Chinese state media emphasized the violence of the Hong Kong protestors as a danger to national security.
  • Topic: Government, Communications, Media, Protests, Journalism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Hong Kong
  • Author: Yuki Tatsumi
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Abe Shinzo is the longest-serving prime minister in post-World War II Japan. Having occupied the office since December 2012, Abe has attempted to leverage his stable tenure to increase Japan’s international presence. In particular, Abe has tried to reshape the way Japan conducts its foreign policy, from being responsive to proactive. “A proactive contribution to peace with international principle” or chikyushugi o fukansuru gaiko (diplomacy that takes a panoramic view of the world map) symbolizes his government’s approach, part of an earnest attempt to remain relevant on the international scene even as the country grapples with irreversible trends including population decline and aging.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Alessia Amighini, Yukon Huang, Tyson Barker, Eduardo Missoni, Giulia Sciorati, Haihong Gao, Elisa Sales, Maximilian Kärnfelt, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic that has rocked China since December 2019 has posed a gruelling test for the resilience of the country’s national economy. Now, as China emerges from its Covid-induced "recession", it feels like the worst is behind it. How did China manage to come out almost unscathed from the worst crisis in over a century? This Report examines how China designed and implemented its post-Covid recovery strategy, focussing on both the internal and external challenges the country had to face over the short- and medium-run. The book offers a comprehensive argument suggesting that, despite China having lost economic and political capital during the crisis, Beijing seems to have been strengthened by the “pandemic test”, thus becoming an even more challenging “partner, competitor and rival” for Western countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Science and Technology, Economy, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Axel Berkofsky, Giulia Sciorati
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In 2020, the way we define “insecurity” has drastically changed. Insecurity can now also be invisible and all around us, in the shape of a virus that disrupts people’s lives, upends the economy, subverts the core functions of national governments and jeopardises the foundations of international cooperation. At the same time, the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic has not made traditional security challenges disappear, especially in and around Asia. This Report presents short- and long-term scenarios for each of the hotspots that challenge peace and stability in Asia, a region that, after the pandemic, has become even more crucial for a swift global recovery.
  • Topic: Security, Political stability, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Giorgio Fruscione, Michael L. Giffoni, Gentiola Madhi, Chiara Milan, Jovana Marovic, Giorgio Fruscione, Nikolaos Tzifakis
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: One year after it landed in Europe, the Covid-19 pandemic has left a deep mark on the Western Balkans. On the one hand, it has exacerbated geopolitical dynamics that had been ongoing for decades, especially with regards to the activity of external actors. And while the EU has continued to be inconclusive, proceeding at a snail’s pace with its carrot-and-stick approach, China has seized on the opportunity and expanded its footprint. On the other hand, the pandemic has had deep consequences on domestic politics, too. The two keywords explaining local trends are continuity and new hopes. They are both shaping the speed and direction of democratic transitions or consolidations, which remain far from complete. How has the geopolitical competition among big powers evolved in the Balkans over the last year? What have been the effects of the pandemic on local democratic standards? Is there room for new hopes in terms of regime change and citizen participation?
  • Topic: Democracy, Geopolitics, Domestic politics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Aldo Ferrari, Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti, Maxim Matusevich, Marianne Belenkaya, Andrei Kolesnikov, Alicja Curanović, Alexander Graef, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: What drives Russia’s foreign policy in Vladimir Putin’s times? Why did the Kremlin decide to annex Crimea, occupy South Ossetia, intervene in Syria, or give its blessing to Nord Stream II? When explaining Russia’s foreign policy, the consolidation of Putin’s autocratic tendencies and his apparent stability despite many economic and political challenges have contributed – at least in the West – to an excessive “Putin-centrism” and the relative neglect of other agents of domestic politics. As a result, many facets of the country’s foreign policy decisions are misunderstood or shrouded under a thin veil of vagueness and secrecy. This Report attempts to fill this gap, exploring the evolving distribution of political and economic power under the surface of Putin’s leadership to assess the influence of different “lobbies” on Russia’s foreign policy. Who decides what in Moscow? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not always “Vladimir Putin”. All of the contributions in the volume underline the complexity of Russia’s decision-making process beneath the surface of a monolithic and increasingly personalistic government.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Politics, Authoritarianism, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Fabio Petito, Fadi Daou, Michael Driessen, Elie Al-Hindy, Georges Fahmi, Nejja Al-Ourimi, Silvio Ferrari, Mohammed Hashas, Scott M. Thomas, Pasquale Ferrara, R. Scott Appleby, Miguel Angel Moratinos, Alberto Melloni, Azza Karam, Paul Gallagher, Nayla Tabbara, Mohamed Abdel-Salam, Andre Azoulay, Jean-Marc Aveline
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Polarization and discrimination linked to religion have been increasing in many parts of the world, including on the two shores of the Mediterranean. Against this background, however, seeds of hope have emerged from a number of religious leaders who have called for a new narrative of human fraternity and inclusive citizenship. This report analyzes the opportunities which human fraternity and inclusive citizenship offer for government-religious partnerships aimed at building more inclusive and peaceful societies across both shores of the Mediterranean and puts forward interreligious engagement as a new policy framework that recognizes and amplifies these novel dynamics. Can the interreligious narrative of human fraternity help to create new inclusive forms of citizenship? How can governments and international organizations better partner with religious leaders and communities to concretely build inclusive societies from the MENA region to Europe?
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Refugees, Citizenship, Pluralism , Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa, Mediterranean
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The year 2020 was characterized by the intensification of US-China confrontation and strategic competition, which had been pointed out in the Strategic Annual Report 2019, in all areas from military and security affairs as well as dominance in advanced technologies and supply chains to narratives on coronavirus responses. Amid this confrontation, the rules-based international order faced even more severe challenges; the multilateral framework established after World War II with the United Nations at its core lost its US leadership and fell into serious dysfunction. While the international community is struggling to cope with the rapidly expanding outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China has been moving to expand its influence through increasingly authoritarian and assertive domestic and international policies on the rule of law and territorial issues, as well as through economic initiatives such as the existing “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and its responses to the pandemic. The confrontation with the United States is becoming more and more pronounced, and the Indo-Pacific region is turning itself into divided and contested oceans. In this transforming strategic environment, expressions of support for the vision of a rulesbased “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) that Japan has been promoting for the past several years, or announcements of similar visions have followed one after the other. The year 2020 also saw significant strengthening of the cooperative framework among four countries – Japan, the United States, Australia, and India (QUAD) – together with the enhancement of bilateral cooperation between countries in this group. At the same time, progress was also made in a regional cooperation framework that includes China with the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement in East Asia. The Strategic Annual Report 2020 looks back at major international developments since last year’s Report through the end of 2020, focusing on the transformation of the strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific region and the response of the international community.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, Multilateralism, COVID-19, Destabilization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Middle East, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Richard McGregor, Jude Blanchette
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: After more than eight years in office, Xi Jinping has made himself into China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping, but in doing so, Xi has destabilised elite politics and demolished the power sharing norms that evolved since the 1980s. By removing de jure and de facto term limits on the most senior position of power, and thus far refusing to nominate his successor, Xi has solidified his own leadership position but potentially pushed the country towards a destabilising succession crisis. There are various scenarios for what happens after Xi, ranging from a peaceful transfer of power to a split at the top if he is forced out of office in a coup or by illness or death.
  • Topic: Leadership, Domestic politics, Xi Jinping
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: A new report by Oxford Economics for Snap Inc. shows how members of Generation Z are poised to play a major role in the economy and labour market over the coming decade across six leading markets: Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. While the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the deep global recession triggered by measures to contain its spread have impacted younger workers, the accelerated shift towards a more digital economy will serve to the long-term advantage of Gen Z. Gen Z’s income from work will balloon from $440 billion to more than $3.5 trillion by 2030. We estimate their total consumer spending will be $3.0 trillion - equivalent to 11% of total household spending across the six economies. We developed a digital competence index measure. Pooling responses across our survey, Gen Z’s average competence score was 2.5% higher than Millennials and over 8% higher than Gen X. Beyond digital aptitude, our research has highlighted three Gen Z traits that we think are likely to serve them well in the future workplace
  • Topic: Digital Economy, Youth, Digital Policy, Consumerism, Generation Z
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jasmina Brankovic
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: Following the African model of transitional justice presented in the African Union Transitional Justice Policy, this report identifies ways to conceptualise and integrate healing, particularly from psychological wounds, into holistic and contextualised transitional justice practice on the continent. The report draws on reflections from African practitioners engaging with transitional justice issues in The Gambia to share lessons learnt with civil society and other actors seeking to do similar work in the region and beyond. It presents ideas for designing and implementing locally guided, tailored and sustainable mental health and psychosocial support interventions that amplify local knowledge and practices, rather than dampening them with external expertise.
  • Topic: Health, Transitional Justice, Psychology, Mental Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Gambia
  • Author: Jasmina Brankovic
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: Inaugurated in 2017, the annual African Transitional Justice Forum provides a multi-stakeholder platform for identifying solutions to common problems in a manner that is rooted in collective and national experiences, sharing best practices to advance an African transitional justice discourse and practice, and generating new ideas on how to support transitional justice processes on the continent. It aims to facilitate cooperation between various stakeholders to aid in the effective implementation of the African Union Transitional Justice Policy, adopted in 2019. This report outlines the discussions and recommendations of the Second African Transitional Justice Forums, held on 16–18 October 2018 in Khartoum, Sudan.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Transitional Justice, Peace, Reconciliation , African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Maxine Rubin
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: The Third African Transitional Justice Forum, held on 24–26 September 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, followed the February 2019 adoption of the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP), a guiding framework for African Union member states emerging from violent conflicts or repression and establishing transitional justice processes to address past abuses and promote sustainable peace and inclusive development. The Forum focused on the AUTJP's eleven constitutive elements: Peace Processes; Transitional Justice Commissions; African Traditional Justice Mechanisms; Reconciliation and Social Cohesion; Reparations; Redistributive (Socio-economic) Justice; Memorialisation; Diversity Management; Justice and Accountability; Political and Institutional Reforms; and Human and Peoples' Rights. It aimed to popularise the AUTJP and deepen participants' understanding of the policy.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Transitional Justice, Peace, Reconciliation , Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Arzan Tarapore
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: More than a year has passed since Chinese troops began to occupy previously Indian-controlled territory on their disputed border in Ladakh. The crisis has cooled and settled into a stalemate. This report warns that it could escalate again, and flare into a conflict with region-wide implications. The report assesses the risk of conflict by analysing its likelihood and consequences. A possible war would be costly for both India and China. But a possible war could also risk stirring Indian distrust of its new partners, especially in the Quad – Australia, Japan, and the United States. The report outlines some conditions under which a war would disrupt or dampen those developing partnerships. The report concludes by offering a framework for policymakers to shape India’s expectations and the strategic environment before and during a possible war.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, National Security, Strategic Planning
  • Political Geography: China, India, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Rachael Falk, Anne-Louise Brown
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: As the Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the world, another less visible epidemic has occurred concurrently—a tsunami of cybercrime producing global losses totalling more than US$1 trillion. While cybercrime is huge in scale and diverse in form, there’s one type that presents a unique threat to businesses and governments the world over: ransomware. Some of the most spectacular ransomware attacks have occurred offshore, but Australia hasn’t been immune. Over the past 18 months, major logistics company Toll Holdings Ltd has been hit twice; Nine Entertainment was brought to its knees by an attack that left the company struggling to televise news bulletins and produce newspapers; multiple health and aged-care providers across the country have been hit; and global meat supplies were affected after the Australian and international operations of the world’s largest meat producer, JBS Foods, were brought to a standstill. It’s likely that other organisations have also been hit but have kept it out of the public spotlight. A current policy vacuum makes Australia an attractive market for these attacks, and ransomware is a problem that will only get worse unless a concerted and strategic domestic effort to thwart the attacks is developed. Developing a strategy now is essential. Not only are Australian organisations viewed as lucrative targets due to their often low cybersecurity posture, but they’re also seen as soft targets. The number of attacks will continue to grow unless urgent action is taken to reduce the incentives to target Australian companies and other entities.
  • Topic: Crime, National Security, Cybersecurity, Internet, Information Technology , Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Australia, Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Clark, Peter Jennings
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: More than at any time since World War II, science and technology (S&T) breakthroughs are dramatically redesigning the global security outlook. Australia’s university sector now has a vital role to play in strengthening Australia’s defence. In this paper, we propose establishing a formal partnership between the Defence Department, defence industry and Australian universities. There’s a significant opportunity to boost international defence S&T research cooperation with our Five-Eyes partners: the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand. We outline how this can be done. Central to this partnership proposal is the need to restructure current arrangements for Defence funding of Australian universities via the creation of an Australian Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)— based on the highly successful American model, which the UK plans to emulate in 2022. In Australia, implementing these initiatives will contribute significantly to a vital restructuring of the university sector’s research funding model. An Australian DARPA, with robustly managed security, will enhance research ‘cut-through’ in the defence sector and the wider economy. We think it’s also vital that this work, underpinned by a DARPA-like culture of urgency and innovation and with potential to affect several portfolios beyond Defence, needs to be championed at the government level. In the modern Australian system of government, that means the Prime Minister needs to be directly involved. Urgent means urgent. At least for the first few years of its life, an Australian DARPA should, in our view, report through Defence to the Prime Minister and the National Security Committee of Cabinet.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Partnerships, Research, Academia
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Tom Uren
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, the myGov website was overwhelmed by a demand surge from citizens seeking to rapidly access digital services. In 2016, the online Census (eCensus) suffered a series of relatively small distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. While they didn’t overwhelm the platform, the attacks ultimately resulted in the eCensus being taken offline. What do these two examples have in common, and what lessons should we learn to ensure more robust digital government services? To answer those questions, this paper will examine five points: The nature of the DDoS attacks The CIA (confidentiality, integrity and availability) triad model for digital security How to predict demand How to respond to unpredictable demand The structure of reliable data systems
  • Topic: Government, National Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Coyne, Teagan Westendorf
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: In this report, authors Dr John Coyne and Dr Teagan Westendorf seek to move Australia’s public policy discourse on the future of Darwin Port beyond a binary choice. In doing so, they consider the Harbour’s history, the nature of its strategic importance to Australia and our allies, and opportunities for its future development. The report explores four potential options for the future development of the Port and Harbour. Rather than providing a specific policy treatment on the current leasing arrangements, this work focuses on promoting policy discourse on a unifying vision for the future of Darwin Harbour. A key insight from this analysis is that this moment is an opportunity for the federal government to work with the Northern Territory Government to harness the existing plans for the Port’s future, including those proposed by Defence, the US and the NT Government, and embed those plans within the broader strategic vision for Australia moving forward. While each of these worthy plans undoubtedly has merit, the question is whether, by carefully harnessing them together, they could produce a greater economic and national security whole.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Infrastructure, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Daniel Ward
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Country agnosticism, under which Australia’s laws treat all foreign influence efforts in the same way, regardless of their source country, is the key failing of Australia’s statutory response to foreign governments’ influence activities. It has imposed sweeping, unnecessary regulatory costs. It has caused waste of taxpayer-funded enforcement resources. It has diverted those resources from the issues that really matter. And it has brought unnecessary legal complexity. Yet for all that, nobody believes that the laws are truly country agnostic. Not the Australian media, which routinely describe them as ‘aimed at’ China. Nor, presumably, the media’s audience. Nor, certainly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which regards itself as the target, explicitly citing the laws as a key grievance. Perhaps the greatest cost of country agnosticism is that the current statutory framework isn’t as effective as it needs to be. Why? In adopting a country-agnostic stance, we blinded ourselves to the very factor that matters most in evaluating and responding to foreign influence—its source country. It’s time to remove the blindfold. We should recognise this basic truth: foreign influence transparency requirements must be more stringent in relation to some source countries than others.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, National Security, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Jacob Wallis, Ariel Bogle, Albert Zhang, Hillary Mansour, Tim Niven, Elena Yi-Ching, Jason Liu, Jonathan Corpus Ong, Ross Tapsell
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: It’s not just nation-states that interfere in elections and manipulate political discourse. A range of commercial services increasingly engage in such activities, operating in a shadow online influence-for-hire economy that spans from content farms through to high-end PR agencies. There’s growing evidence of states using commercial influence-for-hire networks. The Oxford Internet Institute found 48 instances of states working with influence-for-hire firms in 2019–20, an increase from 21 in 2017–18 and nine in 2016–17.1 There’s a distinction between legitimate, disclosed political campaigning and government advertising campaigns, on the one hand, and efforts by state actors to covertly manipulate the public opinion of domestic populations or citizens of other countries using inauthentic social media activity, on the other. The use of covert, inauthentic, outsourced online influence is also problematic as it degrades the quality of the public sphere in which citizens must make informed political choices and decisions.
  • Topic: Elections, Internet, Social Media, Economy
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Patrick Walters
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The ANZUS Treaty was signed on 1 September 1951 in San Francisco. It was the product of energetic Australian lobbying to secure a formal US commitment to Australian and New Zealand security. At the time, the shape of Asian security after World War II was still developing. Canberra worried that a ‘soft’ peace treaty with Japan might one day allow a return of a militarised regime to threaten the region. ANZUS at 70 explores the past, present and future of the alliance relationship, drawing on a wide range of authors with deep professional interest in the alliance. Our aim is to provide lively and comprehensible analysis of key historical points in the life of the treaty and indeed of the broader Australia–US bilateral relationship, which traces its defence origins back to before World War I. ANZUS today encompasses much more than defence and intelligence cooperation. Newer areas of collaboration include work on cybersecurity, space, supply chains, industrial production, rare earths, emerging science and technology areas such as quantum computing, climate change and wider engagement with countries and institutions beyond ANZUS’s initial scope or intention. The treaty remains a core component of wider and deeper relations between Australia and the US. This study aims to show the range of those ties, to understand the many and varied challenges we face today and to understand how ANZUS might be shaped to meet future events.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, National Security, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Ariel Bogle
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: As mainstream social media companies have increased their scrutiny and moderation of right-wing extremist (RWE) content and groups, there’s been a move to alternative online content platforms. There’s also growing concern about right-wing extremism in Australia, and about how this shift has diversified the mechanisms used to fundraise by RWE entities. This phenomenon isn’t well understood in Australia, despite the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) advising in March 2021 that ‘ideological extremism’ now makes up around 40% of its priority counterterrorism caseload. Research by ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has found that nine Australian Telegram channels that share RWE content used at least 22 different funding platforms, including online monetisation tools and cryptocurrencies, to solicit, process and earn funds between 1 January 2021 and 15 July 2021. Due to the opaque nature of many online financial platforms, it’s difficult to obtain a complete picture of online fundraising, so this sample is necessarily limited. However, in this report we aim to provide a preliminary map of the online financial platforms and services that may both support and incentivise an RWE content ecosystem in Australia. Most funding platforms found in our sample have policies that explicitly prohibit the use of their services for hate speech, but we found that those policies were often unclear and not uniformly enforced. Of course, there’s debate about how to balance civil liberties with the risks posed by online communities that promote RWE ideology (and much of that activity isn’t illegal), but a better understanding of online funding mechanisms is necessary, given the growing concern about the role online propaganda may play in inspiring acts of violence as well as the risk that, like other social divisions, such channels and movements could be exploited by adversaries. The fundraising facilitated by these platforms not only has the potential to grow the resources of groups and individuals linked to right-wing extremism, but it’s also likely to be a means of building the RWE community both within Australia and with overseas groups and a vector for spreading RWE propaganda through the engagement inherent in fundraising efforts. The funding platforms mirror those used by RWE figures overseas, and funding requests were boosted by foreign actors, continuing Australian RWEs’ history of ‘meaningful international exchange’ with overseas counterparts.
  • Topic: Internet, Social Media, Far Right, Political Extremism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Malcolm Davis, Khwezi Nkwanyana
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Earlier this year, ASPI and the Embassy of Japan in Australia convened a hybrid workshop on responsible behaviours in space; a concept which has emerged as a key focus of the international space policy community. At the workshop, participants discussed the stable and sustainable use of space and management of security challenges in space, and ways to define responsible behaviour in space, including through UN General Assembly Resolution 75/36. Participants at this workshop included academics, practitioners, government representatives, military personnel and legal experts from Australia, Japan, Britain and Southeast Asia. This workshop and report were sponsored by the Embassy of Japan in Australia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, National Security, Science and Technology, Space
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Paul Dibb, Richard Brabin-Smith
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Australia now needs to implement serious changes to how warning time is considered in defence planning. The need to plan for reduced warning time has implications for the Australian intelligence community, defence strategic policy, force structure priorities, readiness and sustainability. Important changes will also be needed with respect to personnel, stockpiles of missiles and munitions, and fuel supplies. We can no longer assume that Australia will have time gradually to adjust military capability and preparedness in response to emerging threats. In other words, there must be a new approach in Defence to managing warning, capability and preparedness, and detailed planning for rapid expansion and sustainment. This paper addresses those issues, recognising that they’re a revolutionary break with the past era of what were much more comfortable assumptions about threats to Australia. Considering the complexity of the issues involved, we have identified further areas for research, including at the classified level.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Science and Technology, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Marcus Hellyer
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Once again, the Australian Government has delivered exactly the funding it promised in the 2016 Defence White Paper (DWP) and subsequent 2020 Defence Strategic Update (DSU). If the government was willing to recommit to the DWP’s funding line in the depths of the Covid-19 recession, it was very unlikely to walk away from it now that the economy is recovering faster than expected. This year, the consolidated defence funding line (including both the Department of Defence and the Australian Signals Directorate) is $44.6 billion, which is real growth of 4.1%. It’s the ninth straight year of real growth, and, according to the DSU’s funding model, that will continue until the end of the decade.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, National Security, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Gill Savage, John Coyne
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The theme for this report is nation building, not the kinds of one-off investment ‘announceables’ we’re familiar with that connect cities with roads. Instead, this is the kind of nation building that’s big picture and courageous, and reminiscent of the past—the kinds of initiatives that build the infrastructure from which economic, social and national security opportunities grow. The Port of Townsville has embarked on a forward-leaning journey that started a decade ago with a vision, planning and initial environmental approvals, and that’s now being pursued through collaborative engagement of a type not common in the ports sector. While the sector does take a long-term view on management and expansion, it’s still very unusual for individual ports to actively engage with trading partners in a strategic way and beyond the boundaries of specific projects. This special report looks at what’s happening today in the Townsville region, using the Port of Townsville as an example of what’s possible, and looks at what others at the regional, state and national levels can pursue beyond one-off investments to drive nation building that fosters economic, social and environmental prosperity. A collaborative approach to nation building isn’t new. It’s more that we haven’t engaged in this way for several decades now and as a nation, and we’re out of practice. Nation building in Australia must move beyond investment in major highways between large cities and investment in inner urban infrastructure. It must be underpinned by a framework that drives economic, social and environmental prosperity and that’s pursued collaboratively with persistence and courage. It must also move beyond a focus on short-term energetic infrastructure construction and economic ‘sugar hits’. The Port of Townsville provides a case example of how that’s being done today.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, State Building
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Fergus Ryan, Audrey Fritz, Daria Impiombato
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Since the launch of ASPI ICPC’s Mapping China’s Technology Giants project in April 2019, the Chinese technology companies we canvassed have gone through a tumultuous period. While most were buoyed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, which stimulated demand for technology services around the world, many were buffeted by an unprecedented onslaught of sanctions from abroad, before being engulfed in a regulatory storm at home. The environment in which the Chinese tech companies are operating has changed radically, as the pandemic sensitised multiple governments, multilateral groups and companies to their own critical supply-chain vulnerabilities. The lessons about national resilience learned from the pandemic are now being applied in many sectors, including the technology sector, where a trend towards decoupling China and the West was already well underway. As the geopolitical rivalry between the US and China has heightened, both sides increasingly see any reliance on the other for strategic commodities, such as rare-earth minerals and semiconductors, as dangerous vulnerabilities.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, COVID-19, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Australia
  • Author: Samantha Hoffman, Nathan Attrill
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Most of the 27 companies tracked by our Mapping China’s Technology Giants project are heavily involved in the collection and processing of vast quantities of personal and organisational data — everything from personal social media accounts, to smart cities data, to biomedical data. Their business operations—and associated international collaborations — depend on the flow of vast amounts of data, often governed by the data privacy laws of multiple jurisdictions. Currently, however, existing global policy debates and subsequent policy responses concerning security in the digital supply chain miss the bigger picture because they typically prioritise the potential for disruption or malicious alterations of the supply chain. Yet, as we have defined it in this report, digital supply-chain risk starts at the design level (Figure 1). For the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the designer is the Chinese party-state, through expectations and agenda-setting in laws and policy documents and actions such as the mobilisation of state resources to achieve objectives such as the setting of technology standards. It’s through those standards, policies and laws that the party-state is refining its capacity to exert control over companies’ activities to ensure that it can derive strategic value and benefit from the companies’ global operations. That includes leveraging data collection taking place through those companies’ everyday global business activities, which ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) described in the Engineering global consent report. Technology isn’t agnostic—who sets the standards and therefore the direction of the technology matters just as much as who manufactures the product. This will have major implications for the effectiveness of data protection laws and notions of digital supply-chain security.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Data, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: David Uren
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: hat if China were to attempt to seize Taiwan by force and the US and allies responded militarily? One consequence would be the disruption of China’s trade with many countries, including Australia. While strategic analysts have been working over such scenarios for years, there’s been little study of the likely economic consequences. This study is focused on the short-term shock to Australia’s economy. The objective is to contribute to an understanding of the nature of Australia’s economic relationship with China and the likely paths of adjustment should that trade be severed. It also explores the options available to the Australian Government to ameliorate the worst of the effects of what would be a severe economic shock. The conclusion of this report is that the disruption to the Australian economy would be significant. There would be widespread loss of employment, along with consumer and business goods shortages that would be likely to necessitate rationing.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, National Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Kyle Marcrum, Brendan Mulvaney
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This Strategic Insights report is the first in a series of essays, workshops and events seeking to better understand the nature of deterrence, particularly from the viewpoint of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The series is a joint project between the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and the US China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI). Over the coming months, ASPI and CASI, along with our research associates, will examine the concept of deterrence, how both democratic countries and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) approach deterrence, what liberal democracies are doing to deter China and what China is doing to deter them, and assess the impacts of those efforts. The series will culminate in an in-person conference that will put forward policy options for Australia, the US and our allies and partners. These publications will draw heavily from original PRC and PLA documents, as well as interviews and personal experiences, to help understand the framework that the PRC uses when it thinks about what we call here ‘deterrence'.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Author: Nicolas Regaud
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The report analyses France’s military capabilities and cooperation activities in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, underlining its strengths and limitations. In terms of its economic presence and official development assistance commitments, it is clear that the French strategy suffers significant limitations. However, these may be offset by a growing commitment from the EU and through strategic partnerships allowing France to pool efforts at all levels to meet regional and global challenges.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: France, Australia, Asia-Pacific, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Robert Glasser
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This Strategic Insight report warns that within a decade, as the climate continues to warm, the relatively benign strategic environment in Maritime Southeast Asia - a region of crucial importance to Australia - will begin unravelling. Dr Robert Glasser, Head of ASPI's new Climate and Security Policy Centre, documents the region’s globally unique exposure to climate hazards, and the increasingly significant cascading societal impacts they will trigger. Dr Glasser notes that hundreds of millions of people living in low-lying coastal areas will not only experience more severe extremes, but also more frequent swings from extreme heat and drought to severe floods. The diminishing time for recovery in between these events will have major consequences for food security, population displacements and resilience. According to Dr Glasser, 'Any one of the numerous increasing risks identified in the report would be serious cause for concern for Australian policymakers, but the combination of them, emerging effectively simultaneously, suggests that we’re on the cusp of an overlooked, unprecedented and rapidly advancing regional crisis.' The report presents several policy recommendations for Australia, including the need to greatly expand the Government’s capacity to understand and identify the most likely paths through which disruptive climate events (individually, concurrently, or consecutively) can cause cascading, security-relevant impacts, such as disruptions of critical supply chains, galvanized separatist movements, climate refugees, opportunistic intervention by outside powers, political instability, and conflict. Dr Glasser also proposes that Australia should identify priority investments to scale-up the capability within Defence, Foreign Affairs, the intelligence agencies, Home Affairs and other key agencies to recognise and respond to emerging regional climate impacts, including by supporting our regional neighbours to build their climate resilience.
  • Topic: Climate Change, National Security, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific